Almost every employee faces work-related stress. Stress cannot be avoided in both work and everyday situations, and it is normal to experience it. Changes in work organisation due to the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the number of stressful situations at work.
What are the sources of stress?
According to Robbins and Judge (2013), there are three potential groups of sources of stress at work: environmental, organisational and individual.
Environmental sources of stress
- Technological developments (e.g. challenges related to distance teaching, remote communication with students and colleagues as well as obligatory rapid transition to newer technologies or software) .
- The global pandemic (e.g. mandatory teleworking, feelings of being physically unsafe at work or when commuting).
Organisational sources of stress
- Task-related requirements (e.g. the nature of the work itself, meaning whether the employee can perform the tasks autonomously, the variety of the tasks, etc., working conditions, such as having one’s own workplace, the availability of work tools and work planning).
- Role requirements (e.g. having too many roles, meaning the employee is expected to do more than he/she is capable of doing, and role uncertainty, meaning the employee does not understand what he/she has to do and should not do).
- Interpersonal relationships (e.g. a lack of social support at work and poor interpersonal relationships between colleagues).
- Leadership in the organisation (e.g. leadership style chosen by managers and holding a leading position).
Individual sources of stress
- Family factors (e.g. sick loved ones, disasters, conflicts and poor work-life balance).
- Financial factors (e.g. inadequate remuneration for efforts made or lower remuneration compared with other individuals with the same job functions).
What are the reactions to stress?
Psychologists refer to the way an individual reacts to stress and alleviates the sensations caused by it as ways of coping with stress. Grakauskas and Valickas (2006) have proposed to classify the ways of coping with stress into four groups:
1. Problem solving
- Active actions taken by the individual in order to eliminate the source of stress. The aim of the act is to solve the arisen problems by changing the environment or oneself, changing how the problem is analysed, finding a solution, planning for its implementation and accumulating knowledge that could help solve the issues.
- For instance, there is no viable way to conduct remote teaching from one’s home; therefore, the problem is being solved by booking an empty classroom to perform the activity. By doing so, the issue is resolved, and the stress level is reduced.
- The particular way of coping with stress is ineffective if the individual is dealing with a situation that he/she has no control over (e.g. dealing with an illness, loss of a loved one, etc.)
2. Emotional release
- Attempts are made to overcome a stressful situation by finding people at fault and releasing the accumulated negative emotions. If one decides that he/she is not to blame for the situation, he/she can "unload" the emotions on those around or blame the fate. Otherwise, the person might start blaming himself/herself.
- For example, working from home can increase overtime, leading the person to blame the situation. By the same token, the person can blame himself/herself for not being able to finish work on time and for having to work overtime.
3. Social support
- Support is sought from the social environment, e.g. friends, family or relatives. The social environment is expected to listen, comfort, stand by the person undergoing a stressful situation and hear what is wrong.
- Various methods of distraction are used (e.g. engaging in other activities and pleasant things, resting).
- Positive interpretations of the situation are created (e.g. believing time will fix everything, making jokes or imagining the situation is better than it really is).
If you have noticed that the ways of coping with stress you are currently using are not helping or even have more negative than positive outcomes, as well as if you feel that you are making mistakes, are tired, panicking, annoyed or suffering from insomnia due to stress at work, you should consider seeking psychological help.
Where to get help?
1. Psychological help at Vilnius University
Psychologists of the Psychological Counselling and Training Centre provide not only face-to-face consultations but also remote ones, using an application convenient for you (i.e. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, MS Teams, etc.). Vilnius University employees receive a 50 percent discount on consultations. Psychological help in case of crisis is provided free of charge (up to three sessions). Contact us by writing an e-mail at or calling +370 5 268 7254. In order to ensure all of our safety, in case you experience flu-like symptoms, it is recommended not to come to a face-to-face consultation but to arrange a remote one.
2. Urgent free-of-charge emotional support by phone
- Line of Hope 116123 (24/7)
- Help for Women 880066366 (24/7)
- Линия Доверия 880077277 (от 16:00 до 19:00)
3. Free psychological help in case of crisis in Vilnius
- Crisis Management Centre (the first session is free)
- City Centre outpatient health care institution (Centro Poliklinika) – contact the doctor on duty
- Antakalnis outpatient health care institution’s youth help centre (Antakalnio Poliklinika) – advance registration required
- Asmens Sveikatos Klinika – a mental health clinic provide remote sessions in English, Polish and Russian
- Mental health centres in your outpatient clinic also provide free psychological help remotely. Contact your clinic for more information.
4. Private psychological help
- Lithuanian Psychological Association, members of which provide psychological help privately
- A list of private practice psychologists (remote, 4P)
- A list of private practice psychologists in Lithuania
- Centre of private practice psychologists in Vilnius
- A list of private practice psychologists in Lithuania providing remote counselling
5. Mobile apps for calm mind, anxiety and stress relief
- Headspace (in English) (Android ir iOS)
- Calm (in English) (Android ir iOS)